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Pete Rose Inconspicuous at Reds Game

June 9, 2003

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Pete Rose has never been so inconspicuous at a ballgame.

For 2 1/2 innings, he sat on the aisle six rows behind home plate, blending in with the other Cincinnati fans. Few of the 25,633 fans at Great American Ball Park noticed the hits king in his Reds cap.

That’s how he wanted it.

Rose attended his first game at the Reds’ new ballpark on Sunday, arriving with little advance notice and leaving with no fanfare. Only fans in the expensive Diamond Seats got to say hello and get an autograph.

``He’s being very low-key,″ said Vicki Ferry of Parkersburg, W.Va., who attended the game with her husband and sat in the Diamond Seats.

The Reds honor Rose at numerous places in the new ballpark, but didn’t fuss over him Sunday. They abided by the terms of his lifetime banishment for gambling and treated him like any other fan.

He wasn’t shown on the videoboard. His appearance wasn’t publicized.

``He’s a paying customer, just like everyone else,″ chief operating officer John Allen said.

Rose got into the ballpark on a $225 ticket that entitled him to have brunch in the private Diamond Club, where he signed autographs during a three-hour rain delay.

Six-year-old Braden Anderson of Erlanger, Ky., was in the club with his grandfather, Ed Stamper, when Rose arrived with three friends. The boy got the bill of his Reds cap autographed.

``We were sitting right beside him,″ Stamper said during the rain delay. ``We were excited about it. Even if we don’t get to see a game, we got to see Pete Rose.″

Rose was in town for a celebrity fund-raiser for a foundation run by former Bengals star Anthony Munoz, who was hosting a dinner Sunday and a golf outing Monday.

Through his agent, Rose informed the media that he wouldn’t do any interviews. He also told the security guard outside the Diamond Club that he wouldn’t talk to reporters.

Rose could be seen through the glass doors eating brunch in the club, then looking at a display of Reds memorabilia that includes a Ken Griffey Jr. jersey and a photograph of the Big Red Machine.

Rose went to his seat a few minutes before the first pitch. His visit conformed to the guidelines of his lifetime ban for gambling _ he can’t get better treatment than any other ticket-buying fan. Allen said Rose got four tickets to the game a couple of weeks ago.

Attorney Rich Federle of Wilmington, Ohio, was sitting in the Diamond Club when Rose walked in. Federle was at Riverfront Stadium on Sept. 11, 1985, when Rose got hit No. 4,192, breaking Ty Cobb’s record.

Federle got Rose to autograph the back of his ticket.

``He was my childhood idol,″ Federle said. ``I’m very happy he’s here.″

It wasn’t his first time in the new ballpark. Last June, a local politician brought him to town and threw batting practice to him while the park was under construction.

Baseball wouldn’t allow Rose to participate in festivities for the closing of Cinergy Field last year or the opening of Great American in March. Rose organized a celebrity softball game at Cinergy Field a day after the Reds concluded their season.

Rose has applied for reinstatement, but commissioner Bud Selig has given no indication when he might have a decision.

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